Category Archives: Results

FIT: New Intelligence for the New Economy

I just got back from delivering the keynote at the Fashion Institute of Technology‘s 2009 Capstone Presentations and Graduation Reception.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve seen how teams of students have used the ideas we discussed, both on creativity and applied intuitive intelligence, to learn more about the possibilities for exploring new avenues for growth. They are full of enthusiasm and passion for their work – and that is what true education is about. May they keep the fire with them always!

Thanks to everyone for such a wonderful evening: FIT’s Dr. Joyce Brown and Professor Stephan Kanlian, our gracious hosts;  my industry colleagues: Karen Grant, Marc Gobe, Candace Corlett, and Mark Pritchard; and of course, Ellen Byron from the Wall Street Journal.

And most importantly, thank you to the students.  Yours is the task of building a tomorrow that keeps us alive, hopeful, and yes, sometimes, truly joyful!

My keynote presentation is available here >>

The Intuitive Compass™: A Framework for Intuitive Intelligence

We know that innovation is more about people and culture than it is about process and structures. Yet many executives find themselves unable to inspire their teams and foster a culture of innovation. This is not a new theme in management thinking, but it is one that has never been more important.

Early on, as my work took me deep into this realm – the world of intuitive intelligence –  I struggled to build a model to explain why this was so.  And so it was by accident, and by now we know that there are no accidents, that the model of The Intuitive Compass™ took shape:


Oddly enough, I was using Cartesian coordinates to explain the flaws in our linear thinking. The two principal axes, Play-Results and Instinct-Reason, give us four quadrants (NE, SE, SW, NW). Each of these quadrants represents a function or even a mindset in an organization. Let’s make a few generalizations to explain the framework:

The NE quadrant is the area where reason and results prevail. This is the realm of business administration and management. Most companies excel in this department, led by teh twin beacons of “maximizing shareholder value” and “cost management.”

The SE quadrant is the area where instinct is at the core and results are the rule of the game. This is the mindset one finds in a sales department, or in an athlete.

The NW quadrant is the area where reason engages in a creative thinking process as in strategic planning or marketing (think of an architectural firm or engineering company).

Finally, the SW quadrant is the area where instincts are at the heart of the creative process to invent and create from the unknown and the depth of the unconscious. This is where creators, scientists, researchers, and inventors experience eureka moments. Most executives and almost all companies, even those engaged in creative fields, lack a way to connect this quadrant back into the rest of the business.

The Intuitive Compass™ becomes a tool we can apply to assess and chart progress as companies (and executives) learn to harness intuitive intelligence in four key areas:

Strategy: how to employ intuitive intelligence to create sustainable, innovative business models which deliver real value to customers in their local environment.

Leadership: the transformative power of intuitive intelligence energizes, and builds movements – with clarity of vision and purpose.

Work Culture: the ecosystem health of your business culture is reflected in your bottom line results. The Intuitive Compass™ helps create the open culture you need to succeed in the intelligent economy.

Consumer Needs: map your customers needs and wants using The Intuitive Compass™ – creating a value innovation agenda for your customers.

The bottom line is convergence – with customers, employees, management and leadership.

Going forward, we’ll use The Intuitive Compass™ to chart how companies and leaders can use intuitive intelligence to shape the future – both in their industries and in the larger world.

Definition: What is Intuitive Intelligence?

How many times do we see a business leader make a decision without a lot of data, seemingly without deliberation, and make the right call?

Not very often, in the “western” world.

But every so often we encounter that rare leader who makes impossible decisions and, time and again, gets it right. This is not an accident, we tell ourselves, as we look for clues to try to understand this phenomenon we are witnessing.

What we are experiencing is Intuitive Intelligence in action.

Intuitive Intelligence lies beyond the boundaries of science and analytics. It bridges the realms of reality and imagination, reason and instinct, material and spiritual dimensions of human existence. Intuitive Intelligence is non-linear, a key skill for success in the new economy, an economy driven by constant disruption and chaos.

Intuitive Intelligence
is defined as the combination of 4 abilities:

–  The ability to think holistically

–  The ability to think paradoxically

–  The ability to listen and connect to oneself and others

–  The ability to lead by influence rather than design


Business is not about money. It’s not even about shareholder value (ask Jack Welch!).

Business is about servicing our communities and allowing people to express their talents and genius for the betterment of our society.

Money is one very necessary component of business and it keeps the human engine going but it is not the engine.

Business success is achieved through the power of human creativity and organization and depends on individuals – people – complex beings in relationship with an unpredictable environment called nature. No human experience can be fully represented by a mathematical equation (ask artificial intelligence experts!) and the unpredictability of nature cannot be comprehended, let alone mastered.

Yet we realized only recently that besides the financial bottom line there should be other criteria to set business goals and measure the results of human organizations. The business impact on the surrounding ecosystems and its influence on humans are factors rarely placed at the center of corporate strategy.  Intuitive Intelligence™ helps us move from a conservative fragmented business approach that focuses on financial results as the ultimate goal, to a wholesome business view where people, society and natural ecosystems are all part of the  picture, with money seen as only simply a resource, a means to an end. All aspects of business are inseparably taken into account as a whole for maximum efficiency and sustainability.


As much as business can be taught, it is still a rather random process similar in this to the creative process of life. Many leaders focus on economic results believing that it is the shortest way to achieve their goals. The paradox is that empowering people and relationships are the key to better financial results. In 2004 neuroscience was finally able to establish a fact known for millennia by ancient civilizations: the human mind is more unconscious than it is conscious. For that matter, engaging the unconscious in people is more effective than focusing on the conscious part of their mind. This is the paradoxical thought process.  As psychologist David G. Myer puts it: “under the surface lies a lot of intelligence above a lot of delusion.”


In order to be in touch with the unconscious aspect of our lives we need to pay attention to subtle details and to our emotions, which are indicative of our perceptions, whether conscious or unconscious. Our emotions fashion our thoughts, which lead to our actions; our actions turn into habits that finally shape our character. And as we know, character is essential to leadership. A charismatic leader will communicate without necessarily taking in the other person’s emotions, perceptions and environment and will attract dedicated followers; a leader who demonstrates self-awareness and manifests empathy will empower and inspire people with character who are more likely to take risk and think autonomously – two attitudes well needed to succeed in times of radical change.

This kind of sensitivity operates at a fundamental level of equality between individuals and induces trust, respect, and interdependence three necessary factors to foster creativity and lead a culture of high performance. Moreover when a leader is able to listen to others and oneself with such a sensitivity he or she takes in all sorts of creative information about consumers and their environment, about an industry and its trends.


Innovation is one of the most critical factors for success in today global economy. It relies on systems and processes, yet it depends even more on the creativity of people and corporate cultures.  Creativity finds its inspiration beyond the motivation of financial gain or economic achievement. It stems from dreams and ideals and pertains more to utopia than pragmatism.

Organizations seeking innovation cannot rely only on a pragmatic leadership model rooted in a purely economic approach (leadership by design).  Such a leadership model sets goals and objectives, covers budgets and schedules and relies on the alignment of teams to execute the corporate vision. Leadership by influence, however, is on the opposite side of the spectrum. It perceives any human organization as a living interconnected web and the relationship with consumers as a dynamic collaborative system. And for that matter it focuses on facilitating and guiding the natural emergence of creativity to reach innovative business solutions. It puts the emphasis on engaging and influencing teams and consumers rather than motivating and controlling them. It conveys a strong sense of meaning within visions and goals to reach that place in each one of us where creativity thrives and can be awakened.  In practical terms, a leader guided by intuitive intelligence ensures that all systems and processes are in the service of the human factor and its ecosystem rather than an isolated attempt to rationalize business and reach financial goals. He or she inspires uniquely magnetic organizations fired up with enthusiasm and a strong sense of possibility. In this way, leading with intuitive intelligence creates virtuous circles and enables teams to believe, manifest autonomy, and succeed.

Intuitive Intelligence is a powerful leadership attribute. It is not a tool to devise the future, but an instrument that points our attention towards the invisible. Intuitive Intelligence brings us closer to understand the transformative and creative nature of our organizations as well as their interdependence with their environments. It is a means to take in unexpected information or paradoxical data and to feed our analytical and rational thinking with subtle creative perceptions. In this way intuitive intelligence bridges the rational and the irrational realms, the conscious and unconscious dimensions, the inner and the outer, the material and immaterial aspects of any business and allows for truly evolutionary leadership.

In our next post we’ll introduce a new tool to help foster Intuitive Intelligence, both in organizations and individuals: The Intuitive Compass™.

About This Blog: Using Intuitive Intelligence to Create Sustainable Business Value

When I first became involved in researching intuitive intelligence and its relationship to business, I was surprised to discover the disconnect between what leaders wanted to doinnovate and create sustainable valueand what they actually accomplishedscarce innovation and unsustainable value.Often they were doing everything right (by the book) and still failing.As I studied the root cause of these failures, a common thread appeared over and over again, and still appears today. Executives manage their companies in analytic ways, focusing on shareholder value. By focusing on the business results, they fail to do what is required to achieve the very results they desire. They can’t engage their key stakeholders, whether employees or customers.

Two essential truths about human nature are deeply overlooked in most companies:

  • Our minds are essentially unconscious (80% of our grey matter is dedicated to subconscious thinking)
  • Play gives access to our unconscious

Now we know that:

  • Most
    innovative solutions are limited by our analytical minds, because our
    analytical mind knows only what it knows
  • Creativity originates in our unconscious. Breakthrough ideas often elude the rational mind
  • People can rise above their perceived limits when they are inspired

Our western approach to
education, work, collaboration, or solutions for the future is
dominantly led by rational thinking. We have handicapped ourselves.

Our intuitive aptitudes enable us to notice and take in information which may not make
sense to the rational mind. This is our gateway to new and paradoxical
information. They are the conduit to creative ideas.

Intuitive intelligence is the ability to combine
our analytical mind with our intuitive aptitudes to solve problems
in an
innovative way and succeed in the new economy.

Because we now live in a network
based society consumers have gained an active voice in our businesses.
Relationships with consumers are on a reciprocal basis. We need to
speak to their minds, their emotions and their guts. Authenticity is now
at the heart of commerce. Advertising is about creating relevant narratives for
consumers as much as it is about factual information about products and

We must respect our ecosystems and understand that business is part of an interconnected global web.

These are the primary reasons why I authored the book Intuitive Intelligence, and its application model The Intuitive Compass™.

In this blog I will share my ideas and findings about how to use intuitive intelligence to innovate and create sustainable value in order to succeed in this new, ever-shifting economy.

We’ll look at how and why our intuition is often a better guide to problem-solving than reason alone.

We’ll explore ways to use The Intuitive Compass™ and make a difference – in business strategy, leadership, innovative work culture, consumer intelligence, and product development.

Won’t you join us on this journey?